In today’s digital age, access to information and technology has become more convenient, exposing us to all sorts of things.
On the one hand, technology has simplified the way we do things, while on the other, it has made us overly dependent on our devices, leading to adverse effects. Unfortunately, our kids also face the same issues with too much screen time.
However, this need not be if you learn how to balance your kid’s screen time with other activities.
While screens can be a valuable tool for education and entertainment, excessive screen time can negatively affect their well-being. Studies show that too much screen time can result in sleep problems, anxiety, and poor social skills.
Therefore, managing your kid’s screen time and balancing it with other activities is essential to ensuring they grow up wholesomely. Here are a few tips to help you out.
Understand Your Child’s Needs and Preferences
We are sure you’ve heard this cliche saying before, but we are going to repeat it. Every child is different and unique, and their needs and preferences will be individual.
If you’re a parent with more than one kid, we know you’d hope to treat all your kids the same way, and they’d grow up the same and have similar values. But unfortunately, this is not true.
Each kid has their own unique overview of the world and idiosyncrasies that make them who they are. They also have different levels of physical and cognitive abilities, affecting how active they are or how well they learn. Screen time is no different.
Some kids use screen time to escape the world for different reasons, while others could use more educational screen time.
Understanding your kid or kids will help you tailor their screen time and balance it with other activities, such as reading books, sports, or interacting with other kids while staying aligned with their needs and interests.
Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
We are confident you already know this from your time in school, as do we, but not all kids are A-material. And we don’t just mean academics, but also the broader stroke of the life brush. Kids and people are generally better at some things than others.
So if your kid is inept in one area, don’t worry too much; they are probably superb in another. Therefore, when setting standards, goals, and expectations for your kids or balancing their screen time with other activities, ensure you’re realistic.
Moreover, tailor them to their individual personalities and what helps them become the best versions of themselves.
Remember, the best timber comes from the tree that grows in strong winds. Therefore, don’t always make it easy on them; challenge them occasionally and involve them in the process. This will help them feel motivated and engaged in activities other than screen time rather than feeling pressured or forced.
Create a Schedule That Works for Your Child and Family
Keeping with the differentiation theme, we are also sure your family is different from the next, and you have a particular parenting style you follow.
Therefore, create an activities schedule that works for your kids and family while balancing it with screen time.
Having a routine and consistency will help your kids have a structure in their lives, which will help balance out different aspects of life. It will also allow them to develop time management skills and be more cognisant of screen time use.
Prioritize activities supporting their development and well-being while allowing for leisure and free time.
Moreover, the schedule does not need to be cast in stone. Make it flexible enough to accommodate changing needs and circumstances, but enforce it well enough to keep them focused. This will give them some breathing room and not feel boxed in by what mom and dad want.
Provide Resources and Support
Unfortunately, if you grow up as we did, this is probably the one aspect you wish you had more.
Sometimes, you would have wanted to attend an out-of-state game or fair and needed your parents to drive you, but they were busy working. You had no choice but to sit in your living room and watch TV or do something you were not interested in.
Hopefully, that’s all changed, and you don’t have to work as much as your parents did. We also hope you can provide the resources and emotional support your kids need to prosper in personal activities other than distracting them with screen time as your parents did.
However, don’t think it only needs to be such grand gestures.
It can be as simple as finding out what interests your kids and buying them a book from the most prominent figure in that field. This will provide encouragement and positive reinforcement, helping them feel motivated and engaged.
Be Flexible and Adjust as Needed
As a parent, it can be easy to stick to what you know works best for your kids while also trying to keep up with other responsibilities.
It can also be challenging to keep up with your kids’ fast-evolving preferences, leading you to try and keep them in their old ways. We also know that change can be scary, but as much as it is, you have to let them evolve and find themselves; within reason.
Therefore, keep an open mind to new activities, insist on limited screen time, and adjust to opportunities supporting their development and well-being.
This will not only help you manage their screen time but also ensure your kids’ needs are being met and they are engaged in various productive activities.
Screen time is a new age phenomenon all recent generations have had to deal with.
But unlike other generations, being a parent today also means dealing with the distilled knowledge the marketing and content creation industry and the algorithms they use have amassed over the years.
However, if you understand your kids’ needs and preferences, balance their screen time with other activities, and support them to succeed. You will help lay the foundation your kids need to grow wholesomely and thrive in today’s digital age.